cover image First Sight

First Sight

Danielle Steel. Delacorte, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-385-33830-1

The latest from the prolific grand dame of the beach read concerns iconic designer Timmie O'Neill. Despite her looks, talent, and good soul, Timmie has had it hard. From an early age she grew up in an orphanage; as an adult she was left by her husband after their four-year-old son died. Career obsessed, Timmie, nearing 50, laments never finding a worthy romantic partner. Steel's repetitive style hammers home the monotony of Timmie devoting her life to her job and trying to find comfort in the hit-or-miss company of model-actor Zack. While working in Paris, Timmie meets and bonds with a married, silver-fox doctor named Jean-Charles. Though he doesn't seem particularly happy in his marriage, Timmie isn't sure how to read Jean-Charles, and complications prevent him from leaving his wife. In between recurring passages recounting Timmie's life and feelings, Steel tosses a couple of curve balls connected to the designer's past that surprisingly don't feel out-of-place. A denouement that had been hinted at throughout the book gives the closing pages some much-needed suspense. Despite the tedium, Steel deftly stages heartstring tugging moments and heated falling outs, the stuff that guilty pleasures are made of. (July)